Farm Net Zero is a major project from the farming community in Cornwall to show the contribution that agriculture can make to achieving Net Zero.

Alongside the farming community, organisations contributing to the delivery of the project include the Duchy College Rural Business School, the Farm Carbon Toolkit, Westcountry Rivers Trust, Innovative Farmers, Just Farmers and our team here at Innovation for Agriculture. The project is managed by Cornwall College and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund from January 2021 for five years.

Within this project there are three demonstration farms which will act as hubs for training and inspiration for other farmers. Each demonstration farmer has the challenge of reaching net zero by the end of the project. The farm will have bespoke help and guidance throughout the project to achieve this and will undergo regular carbon footprinting to assess progress.

The three demonstration farms that have been selectedrepresent the range of farming systems and management practices that exist in Cornwall. Throughout the project they will be researching innovative management systems including:

  • Compost use on-farm
  • The use of diverse swards, the benefits and practicalities
  • Outwintering stock
  • Cover crops
  • Tillage practices
  • Grazing management

All of the management that is trialled on the farms will be done with guidance from Farm Net Zero Demo Farm director Dr Hannah Jones who has extensive experience in designing and delivering on-farm research. Other farmers will be able to keep in touch regularly with our demo farms who will be hosting three farm walks per year, and providing regular content to the website on what is happening on-farm. Each of the proposed interventions that are being trialled on the farms will be fully costed in carbon and financial terms.

Over the last few months the F.N.Z team have hosted a range of events on these farms and are pleased to share these videos introducing the demo farmers:

Erth Barton Farm

At 300 acres, Erth Barton Farm has been a conventional arable farm for the past four decades, producing root crops, bulbs and cereals. As part of the wider Antony Estate in Cornwall, the farm will transition over the next five years into a healthy, biodiverse, fully functioning natural input farm with a key focus on soil health and the building of soil organic matter. Read more about Erth Barton here.

Blable Farm, Cornwall

Mike Roberts, his wife Alison and their son Sam manage a mix of beef and arable at Blable Farm near Wadebridge. They have 500 acres of grass, arable, scrub and wood with a herd of 150 stabiliser x and pedigree stabiliser suckler cows. This year with more of the arable ground seeded to herbal leys they hope to finish all of their growing cattle on the farm. Read more about Blable Farm here.

Ennis Barton Farm

Andrew Brewer farms 1,000 acres at Ennis Barton, Fraddon. He is a pasture-based dairy farmer and owns 500 Jersey cross cows. He finishes his beef calves on the grass system and also lets out some land for the production of potatoes and cabbages. Read more about Ennis Barton here.